A mix of the heavy and the light. . .
Among the heaviest is Iran. Clearly the Iranian regime (1) is stirring the pot in Iraq; (2) supports the rise of Hamas among the Palestinians, just as it long has supported Hezbollah in southern Lebanon - making life ever difficult for Israel; and (3) moves resolutely toward developing its own nuclear weapons. What to do?
If a stealth strike on hard Iranian sites building nukes is not an option (compare Israel's strike destroying Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear compound in the early 1980s), then (a) put NATO in a united posture opposing Iranian nukes, and (b) put Israel into NATO so to inform Iran that any actions against Israel will elicit a united NATO retaliation against Iran.
Don't you just love the recent biennial Sex Week at Yale? As much of pre-college sex-ed consists of rationalization and how-to, so sex-themed weeks at some of the nation's colleges consist primarily of porn - sanctioned by school administrations and often financed, directly or indirectly, by mom and dad.
Porn (or "adult") is everywhere and generating big bucks. For example, Vivid Entertainment of Los Angeles, begun in 1984 with a $20,000 loan, now claims annual revenues of $100 million. Vivid makes about 60 skin flicks a year and releases 30 skin discs a month. It licenses the Vivid name for vodka, videogames, a Vegas night club, virility-enhancement stuff, X-rated comic books and custom car wheels; it partners with cable systems owned by, e.g., Comcast and Time Warner, DirecTV and hotel networks. Says a Vivid exec, "Adult is almost too good to be true."
Is the left taking a right turn on tax cuts? In Congress, liberals such as Sens. Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Max Baucus and Rep. Charles Rangel are supporting a reduction in the alternative minimum tax (AMT), enacted in 1969 to guarantee taxation of "the rich." Apparently the AMT requires rich leftists to pay too much.
And in heavily Democratic Rhode Island, the Democratic legislature is considering adoption of an optional 5.5 percent flat tax as an alternative to the reigning 3.75 percent to 9.9 percent progressive tax schedule. A concept long dismissed as too conservative, the flat tax is making inroads from Chile to the former Soviet bloc and enlightened parts of old Europe - and now perhaps even to Rhode Island. Much more of this, and liberals may start lining up to repeal the federal estate (or death) tax. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he will send the repeal measure to the floor in May.
Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher has told actress and animal-rights activist Pamela Anderson that he's sticking with Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. She says KFC et al. subject chickens to cruel and unusual punishment, and so the governor should remove the bronze bust of the colonel in Kentucky's capitol. Fletcher says nope, the colonel "is a Kentucky icon" and the bust will stay. Maybe, in a peace overture, he could ask KFC to send the intellectually endowed Ms. Anderson a party bucket bearing a smiley face.
The Mexican government's National Human Rights Commission is aiding the cause of out-migration by distributing maps of Arizona - showing highways, water tanks and rescue beacons - to Mexicans seeking to cross the border illegally. The maps are to enhance border-crossers' safety and to curb their death toll (an estimated 500 last year). The commission's explanation makes about as much sense as saying the half-mile drug-trafficking tunnel from a warehouse in Tijuana to an abandoned warehouse in the U.S. west of the Otay Mesa port of entry was actually for expediting the passage of Americans under the border into Mexico.
Oh, and Saddam Hussein ("Of course I'm not guilty, but I know they want me dead") has declared his preference for the firing squad instead of the noose. Winston Churchill might have disagreed. Recently declassified documents show Churchill recommending the electric chair for Hitler: "Contemplate (that) if Hitler falls into our hands, we shall certainly put him to death. . . . This man is the mainspring of evil. Instrument - electric chair, for gangsters." As Hitler's latter-day rival in gangsterism, Saddam surely does not deserve to choose.